Nordion is set to receive its first batch of molybdenum-99 isotopes from Russian firm Isotope. The shipment, of which Nordion is not specifying the amount, will "help alleviate the impact of the planned NRU reactor shutdown currently intended for mid-May 2011," Nordion said.
The U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration has awarded NTP Radioisotopes, a unit of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa, a contract worth $25 million for the production of the medical isotope molybdenum-99 using low-enriched uranium. NTP Radioisotopes will be working with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation in this initiative.
Medical procedures make up 98% of all artificial radiation sources worldwide, according to a report from the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. CT scans were the major sources of radiation, but other procedures, such as X-rays and nuclear medicine tests, also contributed to radiation exposure, the report said. Read ASNC's radiation safety paper here.
The National Research Universal reactor in Chalk River, Canada, has restarted and is expected to alleviate the shortage of the medical isotope molybdenum-99. SNM, however, warns that the Canadian government is likely to close the reactor for good in 2016. The society is calling for the passage of the American Medical Isotopes Production Act, which would allow for the domestic production of isotopes.
Ohio-based Cardinal Health is warning that shortages of technetium-99 could reach critically low levels for the remainder of May. Relief for the industry is in sight, however, with the Chalk River reactor in Ontario and the High Flux Reactor in Petten, Netherlands, slated to restart molybdenum-99 production in mid-summer.